St. Louis to transform abandoned landscape into a vibrant new greenway

May 21, 2018 by  
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Stoss Landscape Urbanism has won a design competition for the Chouteau Greenway , with a proposal that will soon transform an uninhabited stretch of land into a thriving, nature-filled space connecting St. Louis ’ Foster Park and the Gateway Arch. The winning proposal, titled “The Loop + The Stitch,” envisions an “east-west Loop” that traverses the city’s downtown and connects to a “north-south Stitch” uniting Fairgrounds Park and Tower Grove Park. The greenway will be part of an overall network of greenways commissioned by the non-profit Great Rivers Greenway and partners. Nearly 20 years in the making, the Chouteau Greenway project recently concluded a 10-month competition process, with invited submissions from top firms that included the likes of James Corner Field Operations , W Architecture & Landscape Architecture  and TLS Landscape Architecture . A nine-person jury unanimously selected Stoss Landscape Urbanism’s vision, praising the team members for their clear framework and consideration of different stakeholder needs. “Our concept begins with a recognition of the multiple narratives of St. Louis that shape its identity, both good and not so good,” explained Stoss. “An iconic landmark, a beloved park , nationally recognized universities, biotech and innovation – these identities are present and strong. But there are others – hidden stories, a neighborhood erasure, histories of racial tensions. This proposal acknowledges these icons and lost histories, gives voice to the myriad of amazing voices and places that make St. Louis what it is and assembles and reconciles them into the Chouteau Greenway.” Related: Winding “boulevard in the sky” to snake through Shenzhen The Loop + The Stitch will be open to a variety of non-motorized activities. In the next phase, Stoss Landscape Urbanism will work together with project partners to fine-tune the greenway , a process that could wrap up as soon as mid-July. + Stoss Landscape Urbanism Via ArchDaily Images via Stoss Landscape Urbanism

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Zero Waste Bistro offers four days of sustainable food and design in NYC

May 21, 2018 by  
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Sustainability is on the menu at Zero Waste Bistro , a pop-up dining experience and installation that’s exploring how great design can drastically reduce the problem of restaurant food waste. Launched as part of NYCxDESIGN’s marquee event, WantedDesign Manhattan, the four-day Zero Waste Bistro — open May 19 through May 22, 2018 — is presented by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York. The bistro introduces the philosophy behind Nolla, Finland’s first zero-waste restaurant in Helsinki. Recycled and recyclable elements are featured throughout the laboratory of food and design, from the construction materials to the tasting menu. Co-curated by Finnish designers Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth, the Zero Waste Food Bistro is helmed by Nolla chefs who have created a thought-provoking tasting menu. They use local and organic ingredients as well as commonly overlooked food byproducts, such as oyster mushrooms with doenjang miso and spent grain crumble. In addition to a dining experience, the pop-up event also includes workshops and talks centered on healthy materials, the circular economy and zero-waste fashion. “It’s time to rethink the way we live, the way we eat and the materials we use,” said Kaarina Gould, Executive Director of the Finnish Cultural Institute . “With Zero Waste Bistro, we’re proposing a future that reduces waste and helps to regenerate our natural environment, making it livable for generations to come; a future that’s already here if we make the right choices.” Zero Waste Bistro is constructed from high-performance recyclable components, including Durat surfaces and ReWall building materials, made entirely from upcycled packaging and industrial waste. All packaging is plastic-free, from Kotkamills’ takeaway cups made from plastic-free repulpable cartonboard to Sulapac packaging products constructed with sustainably sourced wood from Nordic forests. The bistro also prominently showcases iconic Nordic design with Alvar Aalto stools and lamps and Iittala tableware sourced from the Finnish Design Shop , the world’s largest online store for Nordic design. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Zero Waste Bistro’s tasting menu will be served at brunch, lunch and breakfast during the four-day event, which ends Tuesday. You can see a full listing of talks and workshops here . Reservations for the dining experience must be made in advance. + Zero Waste Bistro Images by Nicholas Calcott

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Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

May 21, 2018 by  
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According to the United Nations, there are 7.6 billion people living on Earth today. Of those 7.6 billion, 815 million people are already going hungry . And, on top of that, the UN expects the global population to jump to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. These figures raise a troubling question: will it be physically possible to feed the world’s population as it continues to grow? Do We Have Enough Resources? Currently, we already produce more food than we need to feed the existing global population. According to Gordon Conway, author of One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?, an equal division of all the food on earth would provide every person with 2,800 calories a day , which is more than enough for a healthy diet. In fact, recent analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated that it would be technically feasible to feed the 2050 population with available land and water. However, that prediction comes with significant caveats. Having enough food doesn’t mean no one will go hungry, as evidenced by the current global situation. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can feed the world sustainably. So, while it may be technically feasible, what needs to happen to truly meet global demand for food without destroying the planet? Overall, there are three main changes we should focus on. 1. Increasing Efficiency While we could potentially clear more land to use for agriculture, it would be better to avoid doing so. The tactics we’ve used to increase yields and farmland in the past have caused severe environmental damage, such as increased erosion and pollution. However, we now know more about farming practices’ environmental impacts and have developed new, high-tech ways to increase farm productivity without damaging the environment. For example, precision farming delivers water and fertilizer to plants much more efficiently. Advanced sensors, automated tractors and more can also help reduce crop loss and increase yield. Organic farming plays a vital role as well, as it reduces the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Related: Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough These changes will likely have to be implemented in developed countries, since farmers in poorer countries typically have fewer resources and, as a result, focus primarily on their own operations. 2. Changing Diets Different diets require vastly different amounts of land, water and other resources. The most resource-intensive are those of wealthy nations, which tend to eat more animal products. For example, if the entire world followed the same diet as the United States, we would need 138 percent of the world’s habitable land to feed the global population. In other words, it would be impossible. We also tend to waste food by feeding livestock. Livestock consume 36 percent o f crops grown around the world, and their caloric intake far outstrips the calories that humans receive from the resulting animal products. For every 100 calories of grain that we feed to livestock, we can get 40 calories of milk, 12 calories of chicken or just three of beef. If developed countries around the world committed to reducing the amount of food they consume, or if more people removed meat and animal products from their diets, these actions could help save both food and resources. 3. Reducing Waste Reducing food waste is a simple yet crucial way to help feed the world. At present, approximately 25 percent of all of the food calories we produce  – enough to feed every hungry person in the world – is lost or wasted. Surprisingly, one of the most effective strategies for reducing food waste doesn’t have to do with food directly. Instead, it involves societal changes such as reducing poverty, improving access to education and promoting equal rights. In general, quantity of food isn’t the problem, but rather access to the food itself. When people can escape poverty, society as a whole can afford to pay farmers more for their crops, meaning farms can sell their produce domestically rather than export it. Increasing small farms’ profits also enables them to access the resources they need to farm sustainably and further increase yields. So, as it turns out, the earth likely does have enough natural resources to meet our growing demand for food, but it’s not quite as simple as just growing more food. We need to start making some fundamental changes in the way we think about food, agriculture, poverty and hunger to make sure everyone has enough to eat. Images via Unsplash and Pixabay (1) , (2) ,  (3)

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Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

Parsons School of Design unveils sustainable public seating in New York City

May 21, 2018 by  
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Leave it to the creative minds at the Parsons School of Design to renovate public seating for a more eco-friendly world. The school recently unveiled Street Seats, a sustainably-designed public seating area made from repurposed and biodegradable products for New Yorkers to find respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The public space, which the school unveiled this week, was inspired by the need to create more seating areas for people to relax and take a load off. In a place like New York City , public seating can be quite limited. Students from the school’s architecture, interior design, product design, and food studies departments envisioned and built Street Seats over two parking spaces on the corner of 13th street and 5th Avenue in Greenwich Village. The students crafted the space with a variety of reclaimed materials . They used rot-resistant western red cedar to build tables and stools, which were then covered in repurposed fishing nets . Related: DIY Softwalks Kits Let You Turn Ugly Scaffolding into Fun Pop-Up Parks! The lighting system in the installation is completely off-grid and operates on solar energy . After sunset, a daylight sensor activates LED lights to provide a well-lit atmosphere. The seating area is surrounded by planters to reduce traffic noise and create a pleasant environment. The planters are made with biodegradable coconut fibers and jet webbing  and house herbs and native plants. The Greenbelt Native Plant Center donated seeds for the project. + Parsons New School of Design Images by Rafael Flaksburg via Parsons New School of Design

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USDA releases controversial GMO food label prototypes

May 21, 2018 by  
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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently unveiled label prototypes for food with genetically modified ingredients . The fight for labels was controversial, but in 2016, Congress passed a bill in favor of required labeling. Now, the proposed label designs are also facing controversy. “I mean, they look like a little smiley face,” said George Kimbrell , legal director of the  Center for Food Safety . “They’re very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting information but instead are essentially propaganda for the industry.” The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard will increase the transparency of our nation’s food system & give consumers uniform information about the bioengineered status of their foods – learn how you can provide input https://t.co/0wmR15Mkpr pic.twitter.com/qZ6hR0Jorc — USDA Ag Mktg Service (@USDA_AMS) May 9, 2018 The USDA has been working for a while to develop a mandatory national system for cluing consumers in to the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food — and a request for feedback garnered 112,000 responses from farmers, manufacturers and consumers. Now, the department is  asking for comments on its  proposed rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard . Related: Genetically engineered apples that never brown are hitting store shelves next year Many of the proposed labels feature bright colors like yellow or green and include images like suns or plants. They all have the letters BE, which stands for bioengineered . Critics complain that term is unfamiliar to American shoppers, who tend to be more familiar with terms like GMO or genetically engineered . NPR pointed out that some products in supermarkets already have a non-GMO label; Kimbrell said it’s “misleading and confusing” to “now switch that up and use a totally different term, bioengineered, that has not been the standard commonplace nomenclature for all of this time.” In 2016 , the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine  analyzed more than 900 research papers and found that scientists have not uncovered hard evidence that genetically engineered crops are worse for people to eat than other crops. Still, many consumers want labels. People have until July 3, 2018 to provide comments on the proposed labels. To submit a comment, visit the Regulations.gov website . + USDA + BE Disclosure and Labeling Via NPR Image via Depositphotos

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